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Father’s Day in China: A Gospel Opportunity

Father’s Day in China, like many other countries, falls on the third Sunday in June. It is not an official holiday in China, nor is it widely observed, especially in comparison to other similar holidays such as Mother’s Day and Children’s Day. Yet, for those working among Chinese (in any context) it does provide a unique opportunity to generate gospel-oriented discussion given the central theme of God the Father in the Bible.  Below are a few suggestions and sample questions, largely based on personal experience, for how to create opportunities for such discussion with Chinese friends, colleagues, students, etc.

  1. Host a Father’s Day celebration in your home. Give a welcome speech before the meal (a common practice for hosts of Chinese banquets) introducing the celebration as a way to honor the God-ordained role of the father.  Afterwards, gather everyone for a time of focused conversation about fatherhood using the discussion questions below.
  2. Host an English Corner event in your home (a time for English language learners to practice their English). Introduce the topic in the same way as above. Then have the guests take turns reading and answering the discussion questions.
  3. Treat your Chinese friends to a meal or find a place to barbecue. During the meal be intentional about asking them questions from the discussion list.
  4. If you are an English teacher, create a lesson plan on Father’s Day and use the same discussion questions to generate meaningful conversation in your English language classroom.

The list below begins with more general questions and moves to more direct, personal questions. Obviously, each individual setting requires discernment for what to ask, when to ask, and how to ask.

  1. What is the traditional concept of fatherhood in China? Where did this concept or standard for fatherhood originate? Did it come from a traditional philosophy such as Confucianism or from a particular religion?
  2. What are the qualities of a good Chinese father? How should he relate to his children? His son(s)? His daughter(s)?
  3. Describe your father. What kind of relationship did/do you have with your father? What are some of your best memories with your father? Did you ever have any conflict with your father? How did you resolve it?
  4. What are your strengths as a father? What kinds of things would you like to do to become a better father?
  5. If you become a father one day, what kind of father do you hope to be? How do you want to relate to your children?
  6. What qualities should a perfect father have? How should he relate to his children? What should he provide for his children? How should he care for his children? Does a perfect father like this exist? Why or why not?

Colossians 1:16 says, “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him,” including Father’s Day. May our Heavenly Father be pleased to use this Father’s Day for his glory among the Chinese and every other culture He created for himself.

Mark Totman

Mark Totman (pseudonym) is an expat with over a decade of experience living in China. He enjoys writing on a wide range of China-related subjects including language, culture and history, particularly as these subjects facilitate greater understanding of the Chinese context and encourage beneficial lives of cross-cultural service.View Full Bio

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